SALINA - With just a 12-10 record, the Lady Bulldogs of Galena earned a trip to Salina for the Kansas Class 4A Division II state softball tournament. Seeded #8, the underdog Lady Bulldogs had the tough task of facing undefeated #1 Clay Center in their first game. Clay Center came in with a staggering 22 wins.
With six graduated seniors, Galena won the opening game 6-0. Those Lady Bulldogs were Makayla McNemar, Paige Jensen, Meaghan Flowers, Jara Thrower, and Cadie-Marie Stapleton.
Madyson Cox threw the shutout for Galena. This was her third consecutive shutout. In the regional she blanked host Columbus 6-0, and Baxter Springs 12-0. Against Clay Center she allowed only one single in the seven inning game. This was the first win for the Lady Bulldogs in a state tournament in any sport.
After a Galena run in the opening inning and with one out, Cox allowed her only single in the second. An error advanced the runner to third. Cox then struck out the next two batters. Cox didn’t allow a runner the following five innings. The Lady Bulldogs scored a run in the fifth, two in the sixth, and two more in the seventh.
Freshman Riley McNemar had a triple in the game. Cox helped her cause with two base hits, and Dixon had two. M. McNemar, Jenson, Flowers, Stapleton, and Jodie Howard each contributed base hits.
Galena moved on to face #5 seed Holton (19-4), who advanced by beating Kingman 9-6. The Lady Bulldogs managed only one run against Holton, but it was enough for a 1-0 shutout: Cox’s fourth straight. Galena’s run came in the fourth on a double by R. McNemar, and with one out a double by Dixon. Holton came close to tying the game in the fourth. With a runner on second Sarah Bond singled hard to leftfield. Leftfielder Dixon fired home to put the runner out.
McNemar also added a double. Stapleton had two singles, and Jensen and Flowers had singles. In the shutout Cox allowed two doubles, and three singles. She struck out four, and walked three.
Now it was time to play for an unbelievable state championship. Baldwin (16-7) was seeded #6. They advanced by beating #3 Burlington 12-7 in 8 innings. Next they defeated #2 undefeated Girard in a close 6-5 game. Girard had won 36 games in a row. Girard went on to defeat Holton 2-1 to place third.
Baldwin opened with a run in the first inning. Galena took the lead in the second with two runs. Baldwin retook the lead 6-2 with five runs in their bottom half. Cox was relieved by McNemar after one and 2/3 innings. She gave up nine hits, and six earned runs.
The Lady Bulldogs came back on top 7-6 in the fourth with five runs, and went up 10-6 in their top of the sixth. In their sixth Baldwin first three batters reached on an error, a walk, and a bunt single. M. McNemar’s wild pitch put Baldwin at seven. The bases became loaded again on another safe bunt. A two run single brought them to nine.
The game was tied at 10 after a pitch went off the leg of M. McNemar and went to the right side of the infield. The runner at third broke for home. The throw from M. McNemar to the catcher was dead on. The runner was called safe as the catcher Thrower was called for blocking the plate.
After the game, assistant coach Corey Perry said: “No way was the catcher was blocking the plate. Good throw good catch. It was a bad break for us. We would have probably had the momentum”.
Baldwin added two more runs in the inning for the final 12-10. Second place for the unbelievable Lady Bulldogs, and Coach Jacoby Martin and his staff.
M. McNemar finished her last Galena career game batting 4-5 with three singles, a double, and one RBI. Thrower finished her career going 3-3, plus a base on balls, and a RBI. In her last game Dixon had two base hits, and two RBI’s. R. McNemar knocked a triple, and had a RBI. Howard came through with two singles. Cox went 3-5 with her three singles, two runs scored, and one RBI. Also, in their last game as Lady Bulldogs, Flowers and Stapleton each added base hits.